Bill’s advice on matters ovine has been close to infallible since I started trying to farm, so when he said he preferred raddle powder to marking harnesses for tracking breeding progress, I took him at his word.  He said the one exception was hair sheep, like my katahdins, where a marking harness works better.  He advised that the raddle powder needs to be re-applied every few days, but that it was easier than “frigging with a marking harness.”  A week into this year’s breeding, my mileage is starting to vary.  Angus’s marking harness is staying nicely in place,

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and the marks he’s leaving on the ewes are emphatic and clear.

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The raddle powder, though, hasn’t been amazing.  You can see a bit of it on the North Country Cheviot ram’s chest here, but the mark on the ewe is subtler than I’d prefer.

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I decided today to try to re-apply raddle on the three wooly rams today, with mixed success.  Preparing the stuff is a bit of a mess,

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but turned out to be much easier than the next step.  I did manage to catch the North Country ram, but he was not enthusiastic about the project.  At that point in the afternoon we had about 3 inches of fresh snow in the pasture, and the ram took me for a bit of a ride before I finally got control of him and applied more raddle paste to his chest.  I regret that there’s no video evidence of my sleigh ride.


Bill was right that once I had the ram seated in front of me, applying a handful of red paste to his brisket was very straightforward; but I’m not convinced that a properly sized marking harness needs much frigging during the 17 or 34 days that a ram is in with ewes.  I’m only 8 days in to this year’s breeding season, though, so there’s still plenty of time to be wrong…